I am getting tired of cleaning poop off the carpet!
March 22, 2012 7:08 AM   Subscribe

Dog training, crate training question.

I got a new rescue dog a couple of months ago. He is an adult dog, but was never potty trained or socialized. I took the first week off of work to be with him and potty train him. To potty train, I used crate training and the umbilical cord method and it worked really well. I think he caught on pretty quickly that he needs to go potty outside. I felt confident enough that I didn't feel I needed to keep him in the crate during the day anymore within a few days of going back to work.

He was really good and didn't go in the house when I was at work. He kept this up for the most part for several weeks. However, three times in the last week, after I've taken him out, he's run back in and peed and pooped on the carpet immediately. He is getting top the point where he is pokes around outside and doesn't really go potty. At night, it's not as big a deal as I can take him out again an hour later if he doesn't go the first time. During the day I can't do that. I know I should crate him during the day while I'm at work but I am gone for nine hours and I feel super reluctant, like this is too long for him to be confined to a crate. I know he can hold it for that long, but if he doesn't go outside when I take him out in the morning and then is in a crate for 9 hours, he will be going on about 18 hours since he last went potty by the time I get home. This seems cruel?

Another complicating factor: I pay a dog walker to come during lunch time and take my other dog for a walk. She would LOVE to take my new dog as well, but he won't let anyone but me put his leash on him because he was never properly socialized. He also won't let my roommate do it, otherwise my roommate would take him out. We are going to classes for fearful dogs, and he is getting better - he will accept treats from people and even let some people pet him - but it's taking some time. He's not aggressive-scared, just unfamiliar with new people. He's curious and I think he wants to go to people, but is just not sure yet. It is theoretically possible for me to go home during lunch, but I would be pushing it to get home, take him out and get back to work, time-wise. Taking a little more than an hour once in a while is generally not a problem but I can't do it every day.

I am feeding him once a day, at dinnertime, and then I take him for a walk around 8pm so I know that he is able to have a good poop and get it all out of him. He has no other food at other times. I would like to be able to feed him twice a day, in the morning and at night, but with his unpredictability with going potty in the morning, I feel like I can't take the chance that he decides not to go outside and then is left alone all day.

So, two problems I guess: 1) Dog won't go potty outside in the morning and lately has been running right in and going inside. I am thinking of crating him during the day but is nine hours too long to not only be cooped up in a crate, but also to hold his bladder, considering he didn't go outside? 2) Dog won't let anyone else put a leash on him to take him out, so my ability to get help on this is limited.

It should be noted that I do not have a fenced in yard so he needs to be put on a leash and taken out by a person. There is no possible way for another person to just let him out passively (without touching him).

Finally, if I do start to crate him during the day and he catches on quickly and starts to do well with going potty outside, at what point can I leave him out of his crate? How long do I need to do the crating while I'm at work routine? I would obviously prefer to leave him out because I'm gone for nine hours and he and my other dog like to play with each other.

Thank you for your help.
posted by triggerfinger to Pets & Animals (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Dogs can hold in pee and poop longer than you might think. That being said, dogs are also creatures of habit and routine, so getting them into the routines of their short outside trips and walks will signal to them that it's time to pee and poop.

At this early stage, you should quickly and repeatedly reward your dog with treats and praise whenever he pees or poops outside to re-enforce the behavior. If he pees and poops inside, _immediately_ give a "eh-eh" sound with your voice to discourage that behavior. If he looks to your for approval after this rather than looking guilty or submissive, turn your head away from him and ignore him completely for a few minutes making no recognition or eye contact. Once the disapproval/ignore period is done, give your pup a few pets to show him you are still fond of him, but do not treat.

You can let him out of his crate when he gets better with the training. I don't know if your dog is a jumper, but you could also try progressively weaning him out of the crate and into an intermediate indoor fenced-pen. Once your pup gets comfortable with that, see if he behaves well wandering free around your place.
posted by seppyk at 7:48 AM on March 22, 2012

When our rescue dog came to us he was housebroken. He was also really, really, reeeeeaaalllllyyyy slow outside. Frustratingly slow. We started saying "Go potty!" when he started peeing or pooping and it took a while, but now when he goes outside we just have to say "Go potty!" when he starts dithering and he goes immediately.
posted by cooker girl at 8:07 AM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Can you get the dog-walker to give your rescue treats and praise? If your dog associates your walker with good things, you might be able to have him walked with the other dog. It might take a little bit of time, but would ease your worry considerably.

This would be so much easier if we had a photo to work with. ;)

Has your rescue dog gone potty inside the house while you were gone, or just in the morning?
posted by annsunny at 8:31 AM on March 22, 2012

Congratulations on your new dog!

First I'd say 9 hours is too long in a crate. That's a lot of pee holding and might result in your dog getting into the habit of using the crate out of desperation.

A couple of ideas;

Can your dog walker get more involved short term in your dogs training? Come along to the class and work with the dog when she comes to take out the other dog? Getting her to be someone that your dog considers "friend" is in your interest anyway so why not jump start the process?

Does your new rescue mark? The A number 1 way to get our dog to pee quickly is to have another dog pee somewhere she considers her territory. She falls over herself to pee all over the terrible intruders spot. Other than that she can also be a ditherer.
posted by merocet at 8:36 AM on March 22, 2012

First, you should make the effort to wake up 20-30 minutes earlier every day to give yourself more time in the mornings. Also start feeding twice a day. Then follow this plan, which works well for my dogs.

As soon as you wake up, take him outside. If he really has to go, he will - be sure to praise a lot. Stay out only for 3-5 minutes, if he doesn't do anything just go back inside. Don't act mad or disappointed, just matter-of-fact, i.e. "OK time to go in". You should then feed him breakfast and immediately crate him so he won't go on the carpet.

After you have showered and gotten ready for work, take him out again (this is where the waking up earlier comes in handy). Having eaten and gotten his insides moving, he may now be ready to go potty. This time, stay out again for no more than 5 minutes, then go inside, crate him, and leave.

Same in the evenings - quick trip outside when you get home, then back inside. You should continue to take short trips outside until he learns that he needs to go right away. He will eventually learn that potty time is finite and he really should go when given the chance.

Also, when you take him on longer walks in the evening, don't linger around the front lawn or wherever the normal potty spots are. This will help him learn the difference between potty time and walks.
posted by trivia genius at 8:36 AM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

For a dog that hasn't been socialized previously, you have to crate train him consistently. He needs the security of a crate to make him feel safe. Letting him have the run of your house isn't safe for your things, and more importantly, your dog. I crate trained my dog and she loves her cage. I used to work at a law firm after college and she had to stay in her crate for about 9 hours, but I would basically rush home to let her out. Upon returning home, I would walk her for a long time right when I got home, and then I would take her out several more times before bed. I would think of your dog in the same way. Even though you would be keeping him in his crate for 9 hours, you should take a nice long walk when you are home, and then take him out several more times before you retire for the night. Several. Seriously. Your dog needs to learn that it has to go outside. You need to incorporate your dog into your routine, which may mean waking up early, or staying outside with him longer. It's a lot of work initially, but you have to do it if you want him to stop going in the house. Be consistent. Dogs like routines.

Once you establish a routine, you can rest assured that he won't use the bathroom in his crate (save for once-in-a-while accidents because they are bound to happen). 9 hours isn't ideal, but it certainly won't hurt him. He needs the safety of the crate. When he goes to the bathroom, praise him, and reward with a small treat and lots of snuggles. Don't leave water in his crate. Dogs are more resilient than most people give them credit for.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 9:45 AM on March 22, 2012

These are great answers so far, thanks to everyone and please keep them coming.

The dog walker does try to give him treats and praise when she comes over. I've told her to let him go at his own pace and he will now take treats out of her hand but still no leash and walk. Going forward, when she comes over he will be in his crate. Should I ask her to try to open his crate and get the leash on him? Keep in mind that if he gets out of the crate and she is not able to leash him (most likely scenario), she will probably not be able to get him to go back in. He's fine with his crate but he may not go back in it if she's standing nearby. I would like to gradually get him used to her but it's not as easy if he is in the crate.

If anyone has any ideas on how to gradually train a dog to let another person put a leash on them, I would be very grateful. I have a roommate who I could work on this with when I am at home.

I will post a pic tonight when I get home. He's a cutie.
posted by triggerfinger at 10:25 AM on March 22, 2012

The easiest way to allow a dog to be leashable by anyone is to have a consistent hand-gesture for getting the dog to sit. The most traditional is right palm facing upward with the thumb touching both the pointer and middle finger. In other words, the gesture for getting the dog to sit is equivalent to getting the dog to think you are hiding a treat between your thumb and two fingers (training him to do this will involve said treats). Once your dog is trained well at sitting (and remaining sitting), leashing him is trivial. This is a pretty universal gesture for dogs. I've used it at the dog park to get my dog to sit, only to have a handful of other dogs come up beside her to sit as well, expecting a treat. If you have a consistent hand gesture for sitting, communicate it to your dog walker so she can have your pup sit to leash him more easily.

As another training note... I am guessing your dog like most dogs is or will be excited whenever the leash is brought out for a walk. Train your dog that no sitting (for the leash) means no walk. In essence, never leash your dog unless it's sitting politely.
posted by seppyk at 10:54 AM on March 22, 2012

I am wondering if something is scaring him outside that he's so reluctant to go outside but runs back in to go. Is a neighbours dog around, is the dog marking on your lawn, the dog is still new to the neighbourhood and so still isn't sure what is and isn't safe.

I think you might need to allow a bit more time in the mornings, just for the moment to take your dog so you are not rushed, maybe take him for a little 10 minute walk around the block to get his insides working and then the second he pees or poops praise him like he's just pooped a gold bar. One of our dogs can't poop unless he's had a bit of a run/walk first.

I'd keep your dog crated until you have the pooping in the house thing sorted and until they feel a bit more comfortable in their new home then you could leave the door open while you were gone and the dog has a place they feel is theirs to go to if they want some peace and quiet.

Could you get your dog water a martingale collar and lead like this. If your dog is head shy of human hands your walker could just slip it over your dogs head without having to grab their collar. Even if she doesn't walk him at first just slips the collar on and give the dog a treat and slip it off and slowly build up to her walking him around the house a little and then getting a treat until they build up to taking him outside.
posted by wwax at 12:17 PM on March 22, 2012

My pet sitter and I had similar issues with my girl pup (S) when I started having her let my dogs out. S wouldn't let the sitter near her. So the sitter used a slip lead instead and worked out a process where she closed the door to the room, let S out of her crate, stood with her back in a corner, had S to sit next to her (I always leash from a sit too) and slipped the lead over her head. Combined with the DAP/Comfort Zone plug in and high value treats (baked chicken), it took 3 or so months for S to get comfortable with her.
posted by bluesapphires at 1:34 PM on March 22, 2012

Thanks everyone. Here is a picture of my sweet little guy. Here is another.

I really appreciate all the thoughtful answers. I am feeling MUCH better about potty training him using the crate now. I think he'll do really well with it and catch on fast. I've already made up a kong for him with peanut butter which is in the freezer so I know that will keep him busy for part of the time and then he'll just sleep. I think I'll get up a little earlier and take the time to have a quick walk around the block to get his insides going.

I do feel a little sad about his fear of people though. I've been thinking about it all day and I'm just so bummed, because I really want to be able to have fun with him and take him to the dog park and to friends' houses and everything but I just can't see a future with a lot of that in it if he's afraid of people. Not to mention that I have to go out of town in May and I may very well need to put him in a kennel while I'm away if I can't get him to trust other people. It just makes me want to cry. Anyway, I will try all the things that people have mentioned here and I really like the idea of a martingale collar, which I hadn't heard of. I hope it will help.

Thanks again.
posted by triggerfinger at 5:27 PM on March 22, 2012

An idea to get him used to other people that worked with our rescue who is very afraid of strangers is to take him to a lot of dog training classes, not the petsmart ones but ones run by an very experienced trainer. The exposure to other dogs and people in an environment that could be controlled really helped him. We also just took him out a lot, we never pushed him too far, but we just took him for walks in busy parks and tried to find a quiet corner so he could watch it all but not be too stressed by people trying to pat him and the like.

He's still not great on strangers patting him and will turn his back and ignore them but he's not the scared cowering and fear biting mess he was. A good trainer can really help with that and the putting the lead on problem. They are not very expensive to go to, if you can find a group class that can help, and you don't have to do just obedience too our dog was helped by doing agility training as it helped him build up his confidence in unusual situations. While he may never be crazy about strangers you can slowly build up his confidence so he's not so terrified of them.

Also super cute dog, with the sweetest smile.
posted by wwax at 7:52 PM on March 22, 2012

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